Two Shocked and One Electrocuted While Using iPhones, Faulty Chargers Possibly to Blame
Three separate incidents involving Apple products this month have some raising questions about the safety of the popular personal electronics. Last week a young Australian woman was hospitalized after receiving a shock while using her iPhone, and earlier in July, two people in China were shocked while using plugged-in Apple devices, resulting in the death of one of the users.
Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, collapsed and died in her home on July 11 while answering a call on her iPhone. According to Ma's family, she was electrocuted when answer a call while her phone was charging. That same week, 30-year-old Wu Jiantong was shocked when he plugged his iPhone 4 into a charger on July 8. Wu, who was breathing when paramedics arrived, was resuscitated at the hospital and has remained in a coma since.
Newspapers in China have reported that both Ma and Wu were using unauthorized third-party chargers at the time of their shocks, and last week Apple updated its Chinese website, urging users to only use official Apple charging devices and providing information on how to spot counterfeit accessories. While Apple has not officially commented on the incidents, many believe the company's recent post confirms suspicions that faulty chargers were responsible.
"Knockoff chargers sometimes cut corners," telecommunications expert Xiang Ligang told the International Business Times. "The quality of the capacitor and circuit protector may not be good, and this may lead to the capacitor breaking down and sending 220 volts of electricity directly into the cell phone battery." Voltage in China is 220, compared to 120 in the U.S. The human body can withstand a shock of 36 volts.
Last week's incident, in a suburb of Sydney, involved an unidentified woman in her 20s who was taken by ambulance to a hospital after allegedly being shocked by her iPhone. Authorities were unsure if the phone had been plugged into a charger at the time, but a hospital spokesperson said paramedics had responded to a number of calls for shocks from mobile chargers. The woman was reported as being in stable condition.
Apple has said it would work with authorities investigating Ma's electrocution to determine what could have caused the accident and how it can be avoided in the future. The company has not released any informaiton at this time.
Note: This article has been updated to clarify that two of the victims were shocked, not electrocuted.